What Makes a Successful Dance Space?

A theory . . . some "woo woo" ramblings on organizing practicas and milongas . . .
What makes a milonga successful? Or a practica?  Any individual factor can be bad enough to break it - if the floor is truly awful, many people won't risk injury to dance on it. It will be tough to reach "critical mass" attendance. If there is no parking, again, reaching critical mass will be tough. It can be done, but it will be that much harder. It's easy (for me anyway) to rattle off the qualities I like to see in a milonga/practica space - but there is one factor that's much harder to quantify. With this one factor, I will dance on a bad floor, happily pay a parking fee, go to another city to dance etc. 

What's the factor?

Is the space loved?

Not loved just by the owner of the space (though that is incredibly important) - but does the organizer feel strongly about the space itself?  Not its floor, or parking, or lighting or sound system individually - but the space, as abstract as this sounds, as an entity itself. All the pieces are important, but even with state of the art facilities, a milonga that feels cold or unwelcoming will struggle to survive.
In this town, the most loved tango space is almost certainly Esquina Tango. It feels welcoming and warm not because of its physical attributes (though it has a great floor and free parking etc.) - but because the owners, organizers and dancers love the space.

The space in which we dance is part of the relationship, part of the dance, with an embrace of its own . . .  My first revelation, of hopefully many to come, as an organizer in the studio I'm renting came after I finished my weekly cleaning. I stood in the middle of the floor and thought . . .

I love this space . . .

1 comment:

David said...

No, not abstract and "woo woo" at all. So easy to see when a space is loved, and just as easy to see when people don't care about a space.

We can see and we appreciate the care and love that go into your preparations for the space, as well as the nice organization that has gone into it by the owners.

The one tiny detractor I felt was the sign admonishing, "Don't touch the mirrors!"